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County Board OKs Purchase of House to Expand Chestnut Hills Park

by ARLnow.com March 16, 2016 at 11:35 am 0

2833 N. Harrison Street (photo via Google Map)

Arlington County is spending nearly $900,000 to buy and tear down a house along N. Harrison Street, to expand Chestnut Hills Park.

The County Board voted 5-0 yesterday to approve the purchase of 2833 N. Harrison Street for $820,000. The move comes just a few months after the county purchased an adjacent house for $728,000.

Chestnut Hills Park, near Yorktown High School, recently received a new pre-school playground. The park is said to be one of the most popular and most-used in the county.

Once the house is demolished, the county will expand the park and will “work with the community to enhance its features.” From an Arlington County press release:

For the second time in a year, Arlington County has agreed to buy land to expand the popular Chestnut Hills Park on N. Harrison Street in the Yorktown neighborhood.

The County Board today approved the purchase of a home and surrounding property at 2833 N. Harrison St., adjacent to the park. The agreed purchase price is $820,000 for the 10,405 square foot lot.

“Arlington is serious about looking for opportunities to add to our parkland and open space, and we plan for such purchases. We’re seeing real results for our commitment and planning,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey.

The house on the lot the Board agreed to purchase today is a modest rambler, built in 1954, and has no remarkable individual architectural or historical significance. The County plans to deconstruct the house and restore the site as open space. The purchase price was obtained from a licensed Virginia real estate appraiser. The County estimates that closing costs will be about $5,000 and the deconstruction of the house and site restoration will cost about $50,000. The funds will be allocated from Park Land Acquisition funds.

The Board voted 5-0 to approve the acquisition. To read the staff report for this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #21 on the Agenda for the Tuesday, March 15 County Board Meeting.

In the late 1990s, the County asked owners of certain properties along North Harrison Street whether they would be interested in selling their properties to the County to expand Chestnut Hills Park. Between 1996 and 1998, the owners of three properties along North Harrison Street sold their properties to the County. A fourth sold his property in 2015. The park was renovated in 2014. As the park grows, the County will continue to work with the community to enhance its features.

County government takes a multifaceted approach to acquiring and preserving land for open space, using a variety of tools including public access easements, development opportunities, donations, temporary uses, and fee simple land purchases. Arlington has 2,077 acres of public open space; 918 acres are owned by the County, just under 600 acres are federal properties and the remainder are open space owned by Arlington Public Schools, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, public easements and Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.

The 2005 County Board-adopted Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP) identifies criteria to be considered when evaluating potential open space acquisitions, as well as a list of potential sites. It is anticipated that the PSMP update will expand upon these current strategies to help the County keep pace with the community’s needs for open space.  Visit the Arlington County website, search “POPS” (A Plan for Our Places and Spaces) and sign up to receive updates on upcoming community meetings.

Chestnut Hills Park is currently 4.43 acres. The tree-shaded park includes a natural forest, playgrounds, picnic tables and open grassy areas. Kids and adults of all ages can play on paths that wind through a series of intertwined arches and games including find the letters, numbers, colors or shapes. Other play features include a wavy climbing feature, school bus, school house, slide, spinner and a music/sound column.

Flickr pool photo by Google Maps

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